Three books of occult philosophy written by Henry Cornelius Agrippa of Nettesheim ... ; translated out of the Latin into the English tongue by J.F.
Agrippa von Nettesheim, Heinrich Cornelius, 1486?-1535., French, John, 1616-1657.

CHAP. IIII. Of the two helps of Ceremoniall Magick, Religion and Super∣stition.

THere are two things, which rule every operation of Cere∣moniall Magick, namely Religion and Superstition. This Religion is a continuall contemplation of Divine things, and by good works an uniting ones self with God and the Divine powers, by which in a reverent family, a service, and a sanctificati∣on of worship worthy of them is performed, and also the Cere∣monies of Divine worship are rightly exercised; Religion therefore is a certain discipline of externall holy things and Page  353 Ceremonies by the which as it were by certain signs we are admonished of internall and spirituall things, which is so deep∣ly implanted in us by nature, that we more differ from other creatures by this then Rationality; whosoever therefore neg∣lects Religion (as we have spoken before) and confides only in the strength of naturall things, are very often deceived by the evil spirits; therefore they who are more religiously and holily instructed, neither set a tree nor plant their vineyard, nor undertake any mean work without divine invocation, as the Doctor of the Nations commands the Colossians, saying, whatsoever you shall do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ giving thanks to him, and to God the Father by him. Therefore to superadde the powers of Religi∣on to Physical and Mathematicall vertues is so far from a fault, that not to joyn them, is an hainous sin. Hence in libro senato∣rum saith Rabbi Hemina, he that enjoyeth any of the creatures without Divine benediction, is supposed both by God and the Church to have used it as taken by theft and robbery, of whom it is written by Salomon, he that takes away any things violent∣ly from father and mother, is a destroyer; But God is our fa∣ther, and the Church our mother, as it is written, Is not he thy father who possesseth thee? and elsewhere, Hear my son the discipline of thy father, and despise not the law of thy mother; nothing more displeaseth God, then to be neglected and con∣temned; nothing pleaseth him more, then to be renowned and adored. Hence he hath permitted no creature of the world to be without Religion. All do worship God, pray (as Proclus saith) frame hymnes to the leaders of their order; but some things truly after a naturall, others after a sensible, others a ra∣tionall, others an intellectuall manner, and all things in their manner, according to the song of the three children, bless the Lord: But the rites and Ceremonies of Religion, in respect of the diversity of times and places, are diverse. Every Religion hath something of good, because it is directed to God his cre∣ator; and although God allows the Christian Religion only, yet other worships which are undertaken for his sake, he doth not altogether reject, and leaveth them not unrewarded, if Page  354 not with an eternal, yet with a temporal reward, or at least doth punish them less; but he hateth, thundereth against and utterly destroys prophane persons and altogether irreligious as his enemies, for their impiety is greater then the others who follow a false and erroneous Religion: For there is no Re∣ligion (saith Lactantius) so erroneous, which hath not some∣what of wisdom in it, by which they may obtain pardon, who have kept the chiefest duty of man, if not indeed, yet in inten∣tion: But no man can of himself attain to the true Religion, unless he be taught it of God. All worship therefore, which is different from the true Religion, is superstition; In like man∣ner also that which giveth Divine worship, either to whom it ought not, or in that manner which it ought not. Therefore we must especially take heed least at any time, by some per∣verse worship of superstition, we be envious to the Almighty God, and to the holy powers under him; for this would be not only wicked, but an act most unworthy of Philosophers; su∣perstition therefore although it be far different from the true Religion, yet it is not all and wholly rejected, because in many things it is even tolerated, and observed by the chief rulers of Religion; But I call that superstition especially, which is a cer∣tain resemblance of Religion, which for as much as it imitates whatsoever is in Religion, as miracles, Sacraments, rites, ob∣servations and such like, from whence it gets no small power, and also obtains no less strength by the credulity of the ope∣rator; for how much a constant credulity can do, we have spoken in the first book, and is manifestly known to the vul∣gar. Therefore superstition requireth credulity, as Religion faith, seeing constant credulity can do so great things, as even to work miracles in opinions and false operations; whoso∣ever therefore in his Religion, though false, yet beleeveth most strongly that it is true, and elevates his spirit by reason of this his credulity, untill it be assimilated to those spirits who are the chief leaders of that Religion, may work those things which nature and reason discern not; but incredulity and dif∣fidence doth weaken every work not only in superstition, but also in true Religion, and enervates the desired effect even of Page  355 the most strong experiments. But how superstition imitateth Religion, these examples declare; namely when worms and locusts are excommunicated, that they hurt not the fruits; when bels and Images are baptised and such like; but because the old Magicians and those who were the authors of this art amongst the ancients, have been Caldeans, Egyptians, Assyrians, Persi∣ans and Arabians, all whose Religion was perverse and pol∣luted idolatry, we must very much take heed, least we should permit their errors to war against the grounds of the Catholick Religion; for this were blasphemous, and subject to the curse; and I also should be a blasphemer, if I should not ad∣monish you of these things, in this science; wheresoever there∣fore you shall finde these things written by us, know that those things are only related out of other Authors, and not put down by us for truth, but for a probable conjecture which is allyed to truth and an Instruction for imitation in those things which are true; Therefore we ought from their Errors to collect the Truth, which work truly requireth a profound Vnderstanding, perfect Piety, and painfull and laborious Dili∣gence, and also Wisdom which knoweth out of every Evill to extract Good, and to fit oblique things unto the right use of those things which it governeth, as concerning this Augustine gives us an Example of a Carpenter to whom Oblique and Complicate things are no less necessary and convenient then the Straight.